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Cross Road Blues - blues and rock standard
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Cross Road Blues Blues Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Grammy Hall of Fame

"Cross Road Blues" is one of Delta Blues singer Robert Johnson's most famous songs. The lyrics plainly have the narrator attempting to hitch a ride from an intersection as darkness falls. But in close association with the mythic legend of Johnson's short life and death, it has come to represent the tale of a blues man going to a metaphorical crossroads to meet the devil to sell his soul in exchange for becoming a famous blues player. A fictionalized version of this legend was the basis for the film Crossroads (1986). It was also the basis of an episode of the television series Supernatural, which introduces the Crossroads Demon, which appears in later episodes.

Because of the historical significance of "Cross Road Blues," it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.

Legend and Interpretation

While the idea of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil may be fascinating and evocative, the song itself plainly describes the very real, harrowing situation feared by Johnson and other African Americans in the Deep South in the early 20th century. Historian Leon Litwack has suggested that the song refers to the common fear felt by blacks who were discovered out alone after dark. As late as 1960s in parts of the South, the well-known expression, "Nigger, don't let the sun go down on you here," was, according to Litwack, "understood and vigorously enforced." In an era when lynchings were still common, Johnson was likely singing about the desperation of finding his way home from an unfamiliar place as quickly as possible because, as the song says, "the sun goin' down, boy/ dark gon' catch me here." This interpretation also makes sense of the closing line "You can run/ tell my friend poor Willie Brown/ that I'm standing at the crossroads" as Johnson's appeal for help from a real-life fellow musician." Furthermore, it is said that Johnson requested that Willie Brown be informed in the event of his death.

The legend of Johnson selling his soul to learn to play guitar is said to have taken place in Rosedale, Mississippi, at the intersection of Highway 8 and Highway 1 (33°50′44″N 91°1′39″W / 33.84556°N 91.0275°W / 33.84556; -91.0275). Another, less common, belief is that the crossroad is at the intersection of Highway 49 and Highway 61 in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Many believe the song is about the original songwriter, Robert Johnson, going to the crossroads to sell his soul to the devil in exchange for being able to play the blues and gain fame. Another Delta bluesman, Tommy Johnson, who was unrelated to Robert, claimed that he actually did that. This is consistent with African religious beliefs about Papa Legba.

Some historians believe the song is actually about an African-American worried about being lynched for being out after dark in an unfamiliar place of the Deep South in the early 20th century. (See Chapter Eight of Leon F. Litwack, Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow (New York: Vintage Books, 1998), especially pages 410 and 411.)

Covers

Cream

During the spring of 1968, Cream came to America for their second US tour. After their first concert in Santa Monica on March 23, they played a string of dates at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco (Feb 29, and March 1, 2, 8, 9, 10 (all dates with two shows)), and two dates at the Fillmore West in San Francisco on March 3 and 7 (both dates with two shows as well). It was during the first set of the March 10 show that Cream recorded "Crossroads". Arranged by guitarist Eric Clapton, the Cream version had a faster tempo than the original, and included two lines borrowed from Johnson's "Traveling Riverside Blues."

Unlike Cream's usual arrangement with bassist Jack Bruce singing, guitarist Eric Clapton took the vocals on this recording. Clapton's explosive guitar solos cemented his reputation as a guitar legend; his work from the track was named by one critic the greatest live rock solo ever. Bruce's fluid bass playing, blurring the line between rhythm and melody, has been similarly honored as the second-best live bass performance.

It was placed at #409 on the 2004 List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and #3 on the 2008 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time. The song also ranks #10 on Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Solos.

A cover version of this version is a playable track in the first Guitar Hero game.

Clapton's rehab center in Antigua is called "Crossroads." The guitarist fought depression and drug addiction in the 1970s.

Other cover versions

Other artists who have covered the song range from:

  • The Doors during their 1970 Live in Detroit Concert/CD
  • Cowboy Junkies
  • Derek & The Dominos
  • Dion on Bronx in Blue 2006
  • Free (live)
  • Elmore James
  • The Hamsters (live)
  • Ibex (live)
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd (live)
  • Rush
  • Ten Years After
  • The Allman Joys
  • Van Halen (live)
  • Steve Miller Band (live)
  • Molly Hatchet (live)
  • Smak (live)
  • Stephen Stills (Indiana University's Assembly Hall, Indiana, USA - 19 October 1972)
  • Jeff Berlin on Pump It 1986
  • Page and Plant (live)
  • John Mayer (live)
  • Stoney Larue (live)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Title: Cross Road Blues
I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above "Have mercy, now save poor Bob, if you please"

Yeoo, standin' at the crossroad, tried to flag a ride
Ooo eeee, I tried to flag a ride
Didn't nobody seem to know me, babe, everybody pass me by

Standin' at the crossroad, baby, risin' sun goin' down
Standin' at the crossroad, baby, eee, eee, risin' sun goin' down
I believe to my soul, now, poor Bob is sinkin' down

You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
That I got the crossroad blues this mornin', Lord, babe, I'm sinkin' down

And I went to the crossroad, mama, I looked east and west
I went to the crossroad, baby, I looked east and west
Lord, I didn't have no sweet woman, ooh well, babe, in my distress
 
 
Born Under a Bad Sign - blues standard
Istorijos - Dainų istorijos
"Born Under a Bad Sign" is a song written by Booker T. Jones (music) and William Bell (lyrics) originally recorded by Albert King as the title track for the album Born Under a Bad Sign released in 1967. Several cover versions of the song exist, most notably by British rock group Cream and American rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix and even Homer Simpson.

Style and Influence

The style of "Born Under a Bad Sign" is hallmark of Albert King in the late 60s. The lead guitar is bright, nasal and cutting, partly because of Albert King's choice of a custom Gibson guitar with neck pickup selected. The looping bass line is composed of a C# pentatonic or blues scale while the piano and horn accompaniment remains major in its tonality. The unique mix of otherwise minor and major modes give the song a bright but harrowing sound.

The wide assortment of cover versions demonstrates Albert King's ability to influence not only blues guitar, but also rock guitar. It is notable that Jimi Hendrix's cover of "Born Under a Bad Sign" is essentially an extended guitar solo that explores Albert King's unique phrasing.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Born Under a Bad Sign"- blues standard that have been inducted into a Blues hall of fame.

 
Blues With a Feeling - blues standard
Istorijos - Dainų istorijos

"Blues With a Feeling"

Some of the blues artists that have recorded "Blues With a Feeling":
Little Walter, Paul Butterfield, Big Walter Horton, George "Harmonica" Smith, Luther Allison, Carey Bell & Lurrie Bell, Aaron "Little Sonny" Willis, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Anson Funderburgh, Jimmy Dawkins, Taj Mahal.

 

 

 
Big Boss Man - blues standard
Istorijos - Dainų istorijos

"Big Boss Man" Blues Hall of Fame , Rock and Roll Hall of Fame  is a popular blues song written by Luther Dixon and Al Smith in 1960. It was released by Jimmy Reed in 1961. It also has a crossover appeal, having been covered by many country and rock artists.

Reed's recordings of "Big Boss Man" and "Bright Lights, Big City" were both voted onto the list of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. Reed's wife, Mama Reed, appears as an uncredited background singer on both of these songs.

Elvis Presley recorded a version of the song on September 10, 1967. It was released on a single the same month, backed with "You Don't Know Me", and reached #38 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was then used in the "Road Medley" of his '68 Comeback Special and then performed on numerous occasions in his 1970s performances.

The song has also been covered by many other artists, including Frank Frost, The Animals, Big Jack Johnson, Koko Taylor, Alan Price, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich, Conway Twitty, The Syndicate of Sound, John Hammond, Bobby Gentry, Nancy Sinatra, The Grateful Dead, Steve Miller, The Pretty Things, David Bowie, The Kentucky Headhunters and Holly Golightly.

The song, as performed by reggae artist, Junior Reid, was featured in the film Office Space.

Charts

  • USA R&B charts: #13
  • USA Pop charts #78

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Big Boss Man - blues standard that have been inducted into a Blues hall of fame.

Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhRZha7ULWg&feature=related

 
Baby What You Want Me to Do - blues standard
Istorijos - Dainų istorijos

"Baby What You Want Me to Do" a.k.a. "You Got Me Running" - blues standard  that have been inducted into a Blues hall of fame.

Some of the blues artists that have recorded "Baby What You Want Me to Do":

Jimmy Reed, Otis Rush, Pinetop Perkins, Etta James, Buddy Guy & Junior Wells, Detroit Junior, Johnny Dyer, Johnnie Johnson, Aaron "Little Sonny" Willis, Luther "Snake Boy" Johnson, Lucky Peterson, Billy Branch.

 
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